Outdoor bars combine a lot of things that are near and dear to Austinites' hearts: First, of course, is being outside. Then there’s enjoying adult beverages, and hanging out with our friends. And, as a bonus, hanging out with our dogs. Even in Austin’s scorching summers, bar decks and patios beckon when the sun goes down. (Before sunset, we'll huddle in whatever precious patches of shade we can find.) In the gentler weather of spring and fall, we’re always looking for an excuse to gather our favorite folks around a picnic table over a pitcher or a round of cocktails. Since most of the picks on this list also boast some appealing food options, that meet-up for drinks can easily turn into a dinner gathering. When you stake out a spot outside one of these bars, you might come away with some new friends (especially if you share your bar snacks, or bring along a cute dog).
Pass through this dark, dive-y bar on East Sixth Street to the outdoor picnic tables and you’ll be greeted with a beautiful sight: an East Side King food truck. Co-created by Top Chef winner Paul Qui, ESK offers such delights as pork buns and beet fries, which are just right with beer. (P.S. Don’t worry—you are hip enough. Now go on in.)
The Ginger Man
Long adored by locals who seriously love beer, the Ginger Man in downtown Austin has a wide selection, a pub feel and a cozy patio. Walk over here to talk about the concert that just rocked your world at at ACL Live, or the movie that intrigued you at Violet Crown Cinema.
The Austin Beer Garden and Brewing Co. has only been around since 2013, but it's already a fixture. They brew their own beers, which you can enjoy outdoors (or in) at a laid-back location. It’s a quick hop from the South Congress Avenue and South Lamar Boulevard areas, which are favorites with Austin visitors.
Contigo—the mostly-outdoor East Austin restaurant—is modeled after Contigo, the ranch in South Texas. Contigo describes its fare as “fresh, quality bar food.” That means snacks and small plates to share, like crispy green beans or ox tongue sliders. Pair them with the well-made but unfussy cocktails, like the Rancher's Punch.
Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden
Rainey Street, near downtown, is Austin’s trendiest area for bar-hopping, but once you arrive at Bangers, you might not make it to any more stops. The large, tree-filled outdoor seating area has a stage for live music, plus there's a dog run. Can't decide among the many beers on the menu? Try a flight.